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Even when spouses try their best to part ways amicably, a divorce is often extremely stressful for the whole family. In most cases, couples disagree about some aspect of the post-divorce arrangements. This makes the assistance of a divorce attorney critical in protecting your interests. At Taradash Given, P.C., our Chicago family law lawyers can represent you in matters involving divorce and separation, spousal support, child custody and support, guardianship and adoption, paternity and fathers’ rights, domestic violence, grandparents’ rights, and modifications to final judgments.
In order to file for divorce in Illinois, you need to meet the residency requirements. You or your spouse must have residency in Illinois for 90 days prior to filing. If the spouse who is not filing has never lived in Illinois or has not acted in such a way inside Illinois that would give the court jurisdiction over him or her, the court can grant a divorce but will not be able to order that non-filing spouse to do anything else, like pay child support or transfer property. There is a joint simplified dissolution process for certain divorces.
Beginning in 2016, the only basis for a divorce in Illinois is irreconcilable differences. The goal, ostensibly, is to allow for divorces to proceed as amicably and quickly as possible.
When it comes to property distribution, Illinois follows the rule of equitable distribution. This means that each spouse can keep any property that he or she brought into the marriage, and the court will divide marital property and debts between spouses fairly, but not necessarily in a 50-50 split. In determining what is fair, the court may consider factors such as each spouse’s economic circumstances, how long the marriage lasted, and the value of the property assigned to each spouse.
Spousal support is known as maintenance in Illinois. Judges use a formula when determining maintenance for couples with incomes that are less than $250,000. If either spouse can show good cause, however, the judge can deviate from the formula. If the parties earn more than $250,000, the formula is not followed.
Sometimes the most acrimonious battles are fought over children. In Illinois, child custody is known as parental responsibilities and parental time. Parental time (formerly known as physical custody) refers to the parent with whom the child lives and how much time the other parent may visit or share a residence with the child. Parental responsibilities (formerly known as legal custody) refer to which parent will make crucial decisions for the child in the areas of religion, health, education, and extracurricular activities. If the parents cannot develop an appropriate plan, the court will determine which parent is responsible for each area of decision-making. For example, the court may order the father to be responsible for making decisions about extracurricular activities, while the mother may be responsible for health, education, and religion.
The court will examine the best interests of the child in allocating parental responsibility. Factors that may go into a judge’s determination of the child’s best interests include the child’s wishes, the health of all parties, the child’s adjustment to his or her home and community, the parents’ ability to cooperate, how much the parents previously participated in making decisions, prior agreements, the parents’ wishes, the child’s needs, the schedules of the parties, whether either parent has acted in a way that seriously endangered the child, and each parent’s willingness to facilitate a close relationship between the other parent and the child.
In some cases, the circumstances of a parent dramatically change long after a divorce or separation, necessitating the modification of a prior order. We can help a parent or another party with standing who wishes to change some aspect of a prior order.
At Taradash Given, P.C., our Chicago family law attorneys can help you with all aspects of the divorce process and related issues. The decisions made in these cases may affect the rest of your life, and it is important to secure experienced counsel who can look out for your best interests during negotiations and in the courtroom. We represent people in Arlington Heights, Orland Park, Evanston, Wheaton, Joliet, Waukegan, and other communities throughout Cook, DuPage, Will, and Lake Counties. Contact us online or call us at (312) 775-1020 to set up a free consultation if you need a child custody attorney or guidance with any other type of family law matter.